Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

In our recent review of it we might have complained about the excessively long model number of the Acer Aspire 7735Z-424G32Mn, but the company can justify it a little because of the huge range of configurations it appears to be offering in this chassis. Today, for example, we're looking at the Aspire 7535G-824G50Mn, which - on the outside, at least - is physically identical. On the inside, though, it's a very different beast, sporting an AMD processor and ATI graphics chip rather than the 7735Z's Intel equivalents.

For a more detailed look at this chassis you should take a look at the previous review, but let's just have a quick run-through. It doesn't look too bulky for its size thanks to tapered edges, while the lid sports an attractive blue finish that - as is so often the case - picks up fingerprints quite easily.

Inside things are a little different. While there are some touches of glossy black they're reserved for less conspicuous areas, with the palm rest and touchpad finished in a practical matte grey and the keyboard matte black. There's a striking blue-backlit power button and physical buttons for wireless radios (though this model still doesn't feature Bluetooth) and backup. Finally, the Eco button on the 7735Z has been replaced with Launch Manager functionality on the 7535G, essentially making it a customisable shortcut button.

Like many laptops now, the 7535G has an isolation-style keyboard - Acer's take on one, at least. It's a good one, too, with well proportioned keys and an excellent layout that allows plenty of room for a full number pad. However, despite an identical chassis this keyboard suffers from noticeable flex where the 7735Z did not. This is likely due to manufacturing variability, so hopefully won't be the case on all retail units.

On the other hand, the touchpad performs identically to that found on this laptop's twin, meaning its sensitive, large surface is smooth yet not slippery. Unfortunately it also means that the touchpad's button rocker is just as stiff and awkward as before, making right-clicks a bit of a trial.

Connectivity is fairly standard, comprising VGA and HDMI video outputs, four well-spaced USB ports, modem and Gigabit Ethernet connections, a memory card reader and tray-loading DVD-Rewriter. Notable omissions are eSATA and an ExpressCard slot, but audio is well-catered for with three 3.5 audio jacks for analogue surround sound, one of which also acts as a digital output.

As with its twin, the aural performance is relatively impressive for a budget notebook; certainly adequate for the occasional film or game. Bass isn't prodigious, but the speakers can reach decent volumes while maintaining a nice sense of clarity.

Regrettably the glossy 17.3in 1,600 x 900 screen is fairly average, suffering the usual laptop drawbacks of mediocre viewing angles, average dark detailing and noticeable banding. This is to be expected at this price point, though - if you're truly discerning you need to spend a lot more on the likes of the Dell Studio XPS 16 with its RGB-LED backlit display.

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